April 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed… It feels an impulsion… this is the place to go now.  But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons.  ~Richard Bach


Orographic Clouds Tucson Arizona



A cloud is made of billows upon billows upon billows that look like clouds. As you come closer to a cloud you don’t get something smooth, but irregularities at a smaller scale.” – Benoit Mandelbrot

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Orographic cloud atop Mount Wrightson


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Orographic clouds form when warmer air masses are pushed over higher elevations, such as over mountain ranges.

9 Types of clouds:  http://dopodomani.me/look-up-in-the-clouds-day/

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The photo above shows a portion of a "Sierra wave" or lenticular cloud darkening the winter landscape of the Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, California.

This cloud, technically an orographic stratiform cloud, formed when moist but stable air was uplifted over the Sierra Nevada range. Though ominous in appearance, the weather beneath this impressive lenticular cloud was rather benign– wave clouds typically aren’t associated with damaging winds or precipitation events.


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Orographic Clouds:







Even an online course:


Orographic clouds develop in response to the forced lifting of air by the earth’s topography (mountains for example).  Air passing over a mountain oscillates up and down as it moves downstream. If the air lifts upward and cools through expansion as it rises to its saturation temperature during this process, the water vapour within condenses and becomes visible as a cloud.



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“The art of life is more like navigation that warfare, for what is important is to understand the winds, the tides, the currents, the seasons, and the principles of growth and decay, so that one’s actions may use them and not fight them.” – Brenda Peterson


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§ One Response to Orographic.

  • I love clouds – and I’ve visited Lone Pine several times too. One of my favourite little towns. Relatively unspoilt considering it’s a junping off place for climbing Mt Whitney.

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